Today marks the first story in our newsroom’s Latinos in Utah County project, which will run weekly until mid-November. We’re so excited to shine a light on a population in our county that we feel has been underrepresented in our paper in the past.

When it comes to talking about race, ethnicity and country of origin, rhetoric matters. The words we use matter. The way we describe people and their culture matters. Especially during this era on the United States’ timeline, when opinions and discussions about Latinos and immigrants is so prevalent in the current political climate.

We have been saddened by recent letters to the editor and comments on our news stories that proliferate hate and anger towards Latinos. While everyone is free to have their own political opinions on immigration and country borders, we hope that this project will bring attention back to a moral perspective we feel many have forgotten: that we should treat all people with love and kindness first and foremost, regardless of their race/ethnicity or circumstances.

Our aim with this project is not to attempt changing Utah County voters’ minds about laws and policies relating to our Latino neighbors, nor to promote liberal ideologies. Rather, we hope to simply give Latinos in our area the chance to be seen and heard, and to give those who are not Latino the chance to see their neighbors as the human beings they are rather than dehumanized objects in political arguments.

We would also like to mention that our newsroom is acutely aware that most of us are writing and editing these project stories without coming from Latino lines ourselves. We are working hard to get all our facts straight, our tones unbiased and our interviewed sources wide-ranging as we create these stories without personal backgrounds of being a part of the Latino community.

That being said, we know we’re not perfect despite our awareness and efforts. Race and ethnicity are tricky subjects to write about without accidentally using offensive language, misrepresenting culture or making other mistakes. If we publish any inaccuracies or mistakes in our project stories, we invite our readers to reach out to us and explain. We’re happy to make corrections when they are needed.

We also want to invite our Latino neighbors in Utah County to share their stories and experiences with us. We’re always happy to receive letters to the editor or tips for story ideas.

Topics that we will be covering throughout the project include challenges Latinos face at work, religion and the Latino community, Latinos and mental health, Latinos and sports, Latinos and education, White House policies affecting local Latinos, and more.

While the first story was just published today, this project has been in the works for several months as our newsroom brainstormed, planned and educated ourselves on Latino culture. We’re thrilled that the fruits of our labors are finally happening for our community to see, and we look forward to highlighting our Latino neighbors for the next several months.